Why everyone wants a piece of Hans Hartung

Courtesy of Nahmad Contemporary, photo Tom Powel imaging Sometimes the stars align and an artist who has languished in obscurity for years can suddenly rise to the top of an art advisor’s wish list. And how does this magic transformation occur you ask? Why, with just a sprinkling of fairy dust from some of the most influential galleries in the world. Hans Hartung, ‘T1982-E15’, 1982, Tate, London Hans Hartung might be one of the most important lyrical abstract artists that emerged from the ruins of Europe after the Second World War, but he is hardly a household name. In fact,…

The Royal Academy | 250 years of high drama

When we think of the Royal Academy, we imagine a place of grandeur, tradition and of course – outrageous scandal through its 250 year-long history. As the only privately funded British institution that offers free arts tutelage for all, the Royal Academy holds a special place in our hearts. This oldest art school in the land also has a starry line-up of alumni and presidents including Joshua Reynolds (wrly called ‘Sloshua Reynolds’), Edward John Poynter, Frederic Leighton and currently, Christopher Le Brun to its name. But what secrets lie behind the curtain of pomp and circumstance? Set up by King…

Has Modern Art has gone off the boil in Copenhagen?

For years Copenhagen has been quietly building a reputation as one of the trendiest places in Europe to see contemporary art; drawing artists and connoisseurs alike to its chic Scandinavian streets. Not only does Copenhagen boast the only international art fair in Scandinavia with Code art fair and CHART at the Kunsthal Charlottenborg in late summer, it plays host to several breathtaking museums at ARKEN and Louisiana that have become global institutions in their own right. Just two years ago the city’s Paper Island welcomed Copenhagen Contemporary: the latest art centre to draw crowds eager to lap up Anselm Kiefer, Christian…

Cook, Baker, Candlestick maker | What made Chaïm Soutine such a formidable painter?

The focus of the Courtauld Gallery’s winter show is the famous émigré painter Chaïm Soutine, whose dalliances in the underworld of 1920s Paris are somewhat legendary. Hanging out with the likes of Amedeo Modigliani in the garrets of Montparnasse, Soutine is often placed in the bracket of struggling immigrant artists when in reality he was somewhat successful. And that’s not the only thing surprising about Soutine. A careful selection of paintings at the Courtauld of everyday bellboys, cooks and servants reveals Soutine’s chops as a painter – a smack between the eyes that I did not see coming. Aside from the…

Nicholas Logsdail & Lisson Gallery | The Secrets to Success

Towering over London’s embankment this autumn is a monument to the legacy of a certain dealer that stretches far beyond the edges of the river Thames. The founder of Lisson Gallery, Mr Nicholas Logsdail commemorates the 50th anniversary of his powerhouse gallery in style with a colossal show that dominates the Strand’s Store studios. Curated by Lisson’s equally formidable Curatorial Director, Greg Hilty and Head of Content, Ossian Ward, there are 45 works of art on display across the different floors of the building by a stable of artists that have defined a generation. Even the most fervent non-believers of contemporary…

Playing the villain | Marie-Hortense and Cézanne’s Portraits

The latest blockbuster to take the stage at London’s National Portrait Gallery has an unlikely star performer. Step aside Mont Sainte-Victoire and so long to you bowls of fruit – the real leading lady of Cézanne’s Portraits is the oval-faced bookbinder turned artist’s model, Marie-Hortense Fiquet. Cézanne met the young woman that would become his wife in 1869 when he was studying his craft at the Académie Suisse in Paris beside the likes of Camille Pissarro. Transfixed by Hortense’s curious beauty, with her angular face and central parting of auburn hair, Cézanne painted her more than anyone else during his…

The King is dead, long live the King | Why Basquiat has stolen the crown for most important American artist

Jean-Michel Basquiat is a name that is commanding new respect for collectors and art aficionados everywhere. The poster boy for post-punk New York and the rise of street art during the 1980s, Basquiat has become one of the most influential players in the art market today with enough pulling-power to draw the highest bidders in town. And as his prices soar, it seems that museums are finally catching up to the craze as the Barbican prepares to open the first major UK Basquiat retrospective this autumn. Curiously there are only a handful of Basquiat paintings in public collections around the…

The Hepworth Wakefield | Why the Museum of the Year 2017 deserves everything it gets

Tucked away in the backstreets of a small West Yorkshire town is an unlikely star-attraction. Of all the gin joints in the world, Wakefield happens to be the birthplace of one of our most celebrated home-grown sculptors, Barbara Hepworth, and now the backdrop for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017. As Londoners through and through, it’s often hard to imagine a world outside of the big smoke, but the Hepworth Wakefield is making our eyes turn north. From dreary pumpkin to golden carriage, this Cinderella story began in 2011 when the largest purpose-built museum for 43 years was built…

Laura Theresa Epps Alma-Tadema and life in the shadows

Leighton House Museum, that idyll of Orientalist splendour with Arab halls, resplendent Gold domes and embellished mosaics, are trying to revive the reputation of Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Who you might ask? The Dutch painter who made London his home during the late 19th century lost favour with ‘Joe public’ as tastes changed and the Victorians began to seem downright parochial. And it was not a modest fall from grace. One of Alma-Tadema’s now most celebrated masterpieces of Moses being rescued from the River Nile by the Pharaoh’s daughter was once bought by an art dealer simply for it’s glitzy frame and…

John Singer Sargent, Dulwich Picture Gallery

From Madame X to Lady Macbeth, the American painter John Singer Sargent built his reputation with miraculous portraits of Edwardian society. But this summer the frocks, corsets and stiff waistcoats are out the window and Sargent’s elusive watercolours are in the spotlight at Dulwich Picture Gallery. His reputation as a portrait painter might have preceded him, but as a boy Sargent often turned to watercolours for their natural immediacy as washes of paint dried instantly on the page. The works on display at Dulwich Picture Gallery this summer are far from the pastime of any old provincial watercolourist (and believe…